Russia won't put missiles in Kaliningrad: Medvedev
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday he will call off his decision to deploy missiles in the enclave of Kaliningrad, his response to the United States scrapping missile shield plans in Europe, Reuters reported.
U.S. President Barack Obama last week announced Washington will not put interceptor missiles in Poland or a radar system in the Czech Republic, parts of a project viewed by the United States as protection against potential attacks from Iran.
Medvedev, who met Obama in New York on Wednesday, has described that decision as "courageous."
Dealing with the issues of the U.S. missile shield, Iran and nuclear disarmament are major elements of attempts by Medvedev and Obama to reset thorny bilateral relations that had plunged to post-Cold War lows under the Bush administration.
To Russia, the U.S. missile shield plan for eastern Europe was a threat to its security.
Medvedev had vowed to put Iskander missiles in the Baltic region of Kaliningrad, bordering NATO members Lithuania and Poland, if Washington went ahead with the plan.
"When I announced this decision I said it was a reaction to the creation of a third positioning region," Medvedev said in Pittsburgh, where he attended a summit of Group of 20 leading economies.
"Now that this decision was scrapped, I will make a decision not to deploy Iskanders in the appropriate region of our country."
A senior Russian military official said earlier this week that the military would reverse plans to deploy Iskanders after Obama's announcement. But armed forces chief of staff General Nikolai Makarov later said such a decision should be made by the president.
The West suspects Iran of seeking to make nuclear weapons. Russia, a veto-wielding permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, has so far blocked attempts to impose strong sanctions against Tehran.
But Medvedev, annoyed by reports about Iran building a new uranium enrichment plant, warned Tehran to respond to international concerns and give up any military elements of its nuclear program.
Medvedev, clearly siding with the Western condemnation of Iran's plans, said Tehran should start cooperating with U.N. inspectors by the time it meets international negotiators for talks on October 1.